Agent Carter S2 E03 – Better Angels

A bit behind in my Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D posts so I hope you’ll forgive me.  Let’s try and catch up over the next little while – shall we?

Episode 3 of the 2nd season of Agent Carter started to get quite a bit more serious in comparison to the previous episodes.  With the “death” of D. Wilkes’ in the previous episode, we were left to wonder about the potential budding romance between Peggy and Wilkes – well we start to get some of those answers here.  When Peggy and Sousa investigate Wilkes’ home, they find items that implicate him as a Russian spy.  As this show takes place during the time of the McCarthy trials – well probably before them if we want to be historically accurate! – the threat of Russia is very valid.  In addition, it’s another good tie-in to our season 1 storyline and Dottie & the Black Widow institute!  While the rest of the detectives believe the evidence implicating Wilkes, Peggy and Sousa don’t so Peggy gets Howard involved.

Howard is on the set of his latest film and while it’s based on a comic book (quite funny that, all things considered!) his offer to Peggy of a role, is quickly turned down.  Once Peggy manages to get him onside with her investigation, he quickly helps her identify the mysterious pin that we initially saw from episode 1 that Dottie was trying to steal from the bank.  Telling Peggy that it’s for an exclusive men’s only venue called the Arena Club they concoct a plan to break in so that Peggy can get a good look around.  Howard and an entourage of his beauties proceed to “storm” the club and while they are roundly welcomed by the male patrons, they are eventually forced out.  However Peg has managed to get in also and looking around, Peggy discovers that this group has a lot of control when it comes to manipulating things, particularly in the government.

agentBThompson however has arrived in LA also and he’s not too happy about this mission.  When he finds out about it, he berates Sousa (for allowing Peggy to go rogue) and Peggy for being such a difficult agent to handle.  While a lot of this might be Thompson’s natural aggressiveness when it comes to Peggy, he’s actually under the thumb of Vernon Masters – the head of the FBI who’s working for the leaders of the Arena Club!

However – all is not as it seems!  Peggy notices that objects have started floating around her and initially thinks it’s because she’s been contaminated by zero matter.  The truth however is significantly more complicated (and interesting!).  Peggy gets Howard to help her find a solution to her contamination, but they quickly realize that she’s not actually contaminated at all!  Wilkes is somehow still alive – just in an alternate dimension/universe – but Stark creates a “magic” potion that he’s able to spray on him & manages to make him visible again.  Initially unable to talk, Stark proceeds to spray it in his mouth also (which I thought was a bit silly to be honest) so that his vocal chords too are reintegrated and then *boom* he can speak again!  I think the fact that air from the lungs are required to pass over the vocal chords and hundreds of other bodily functions that are missed are somewhat convenient.  It would have made more sense if he could just talk when he was brought back without the whole spray into the mouth thing.  Anyways, moving on!

agentCThis discovery launches a whole new project: make Wilkes a physical being again as while the team can see him, they can’t yet touch or otherwise interact with him.  One thing they do learn however is that he was not alone at the explosion.  Whitney Frost was there too and while she seems unaffected by what happened, after Peggy confronts her, she seems even more imbalanced than before.  “Persuading” her husband that Peggy must die, they hire a hitman to take her out and while it must be said, he’s probably the most successful of all of Peggy’s assailants, he too fails to kill her with the fortunate assistance of Jarvis.  While that might be the end of Whitney’s issues, in reality she’s been affected even more strongly and strangely than Wilkes’ has.

Continuing on from the theme we saw explored in a small manner in the previous episode, Whitney’s manager approaches her and tells her that she was going to be replaced because she was “too old” but he managed to stop it from happening.  When he tries to get a bit grabby as thanks for his assistance, zero matter shoots out of Whitney’s hands engulfing him and in some way decomposes him before sucking him back into her. We also learned this episode that Whitney is actually the mastermind who created Isodyne. I wasn’t sure about Whitney last episode, but now I’m thinking she’s a worthy villain for Peggy.

Final Thoughts:
First off, Peggy continues to kick ass in this show. There are moments where she goes undercover and acts like a girly girl and you can tell she hates it. It’s fun to see her change so quickly from that to the awesome strong character she is and deal with the problems surrounding her. Hayley Atwell gives a fantastic performance and embraces every aspect of Peggy. This season is really captivating so far. I love the diverse characters and that everything is linked in an intelligent way. I also love the commentary on sexism and racism throughout each episode. This show does a pretty good job of combining social commentary, humor, action and an engaging storyline in a fairly neat package.

 

 

 

Agent Carter – S2 E02

We ended the previous episode with the revelation that Sousa is in a somewhat serious relationship which seems to put to bed all of our hopes and wishes for an eventual joining between Peggy and Sousa.  Really a pity as they would have made an excellent couple and while it seems that Sousa moved away from New York to get some distance – there was definitely an attraction between the two.  Season Two of Agent Carter continues at the same breakneck pace we’ve come to expect and this episode delivers in spades.  The episode never loses sight of the characters and spends a lot of time dealing with Peggy having trouble adjusting to life in L.A. as well as finding it difficult to accept that Sousa has found someone. Ultimately seeing how nice a person Violet is causes her to suck it up and be happy for Sousa rather than giving us a tired love triangle.

Continuing the trend of adding more women to the show, we’re also introduced to the very lovely Ana … Jarvis’ wife.  Ana walks in on what other shows might consider a compromising position but she isn’t phased by it at all. This shows how much she trusts her husband as well as Peggy’s platonic connection with him. The scene was pretty amusing but got a little cartoonish at some points.

Speaking of that connection, I loved seeing Reggie Austin, who plays Dr Jason Wilkes, and Hayley Atwell in this episode. I, for one, enjoyed their relationship in this episode, more than I’ve enjoyed the will-they-won’t-they nature of Peggy and Daniel’s friendship.  The whole person of colour angle too is one that suits this show and era and I think it’s treated quite well overall. One thing that works really well is how the episode tackles the issue of race in the 1940s. Jason’s loyalty to Isodyne makes sense on a character level as they allowed him to carry on with what he wanted to do without caring about the colour of his skin. The racial issues aren’t sensationalised in any way as the facts speak for themselves. I will say, though, that I liked seeing Sousa become upset after hearing Peggy was lost.

Whitney being the big bad though is probably the best part of this episode.  In the first episode, her involvement is alluded to although it seems her husband is the driving force.  However, we learn here that she’s got some significant brain power of her own & was the creator and inventor of many of Isodyne’s key projects. She’s someone that could possibly give Stark a run for his money as while he’s a paramount engineer, there are some questions about the ownership of his creations!  In addition to her brain power though is the way she’s portrayed as an aging actress in a Hollywood focused purely on beauty.  Sadly this is one of the things that hasn’t changed despite the time that has passed.

 

Last night’s episode of “Agent Carter” titled The Lady in the Lake (Agent Carter Season 2 Episode 1) introduced a ton of amazing new mysteries for its second season. They brought back Black Widow baddie Dottie Underwood, they teed up the mystery of a frozen, radioactive woman, and they revealed a secret society that looked way too much like Hydra.  Now it must be stated upfront that while I expected Dottie to be back at some point this series, I didn’t expect to see her so soon!  Carter as I mentioned in my previous reviews doesn’t waste time and while the short seasons somewhat contribute to that, I expect another reason is the lessons learned from Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D which just dragged.

Season two of Marvel’s Agent Carter begins the same way season one did: with a sassy brunette in a red hat. But this time the brunette is Russian super-spy Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan) dressed like everyone’s favorite SSR agent — Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) — and she and her goons are robbing a bank. Just when you think they might get away with it too, Peggy pops out of the safe with a shotgun and gets into a showdown with Dottie and while we don’t have one of the epic fight sequences that May made famous in S.H.I.E.L.D we still do have a quite exciting showdown between the two girls.  The brawl ends when Peggy smashes a bag of coins into Dorothy’s head, and having the bag burst as it smacks Dorothy accentuates the impact of the finishing move, using the explosion of coins as a visual representation of the force of Peggy’s hit. Managing to capture Dottie, Peggy is in the midst of her interrogation … and you can tell that things have changed at SSR as the other agents obviously hold her in extremely high esteem which Thompson is not too appreciative of.

The SSR’s new west coast chief Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) is in Los Angeles, and let me say that he’s never looked better. The SSR gets called in to help the LAPD because there’s a frozen lake in the middle of a heat wave and a dead girl at the bottom of it. But Sousa is the only agent in LA and he wants backup for what he thinks will be a huge, high profile case. Thus the east coast chief, Jack Thompson (the very angry Chad Michael Murray) sends Peggy to the west coast, interrupting her Dottie interrogation. The main reason he does is because he thinks this will annoy Sousa and Peggy, which doesn’t give me much confidence in his leadership abilities. And then he proves incapable of interrogating Dottie — whose lipstick remains perfect while in custody — before the FBI swoops in and takes her away, so all in all, not a great day for him.

Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite sassy butler Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) has also moved to Los Angeles because Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) has decided to start making movies. Unlike Sousa, Jarvis has not changed his wardrobe at all, and he’s annoyed that Californians “eat avocados with everything.” Never change, Edwin. When Jarvis brings Peggy to the Stark mansion, Peggy finally meets his wife, Ana Jarvis, who last season seemed to maybe be a figment of his imagination. Those expecting a dowdy housewife for Mrs. Jarvis will be surprised by Ana’s effervescent disposition, and her personality carries over to her bold wardrobe of dresses in brightly colored floral patterns. She’s a housewife that has clearly spent her free time keeping up with the latest fashions, and Ana’s expertise comes in handy when Peggy needs help getting ready for a date with Dr. Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin), a scientist working for the company directly connected to the murder Peggy is investigating.

Peggy Carter is relocating to Hollywood for Agent Carter’s second season, but it’s far from the only big change for the series. As expected from the new setting, the visuals are brighter and the fashion is more glamorous, but there’s also an influx of new female characters, a love interest of color, and a story that pulls Peggy away from the workplace misogyny that defined so much of the first season.  But back to our Jane Doe, who’s not only frozen, but glows in the dark. The dumb LAPD detective Sousa and Peggy work with keeps trying to stop them from following leads, as his main investigatory strategy is to leak the story to the press. This is so ridiculous it’s clear that he’s up to no good. Later he’s outright racist toward hot black doctor James Wilkes (Reggie Austin), so you can tell he’ll be gone soon.

Right, racism! Season one (rightfully) faced criticism from fans for its very white cast, but this season adds hot Dr. Wilkes, a scientist at Isodyne labs, where the dead girl — he tells us her name, Jane Scott — worked. Rumor has it she was sleeping with the boss, Calvin Chadwick (Currie Graham), who’s also running for Senate. It’s clear from his first moment on screen that Wilkes is supposed to be her new love interest, but Peggy seems sort of uncomfortable about it. It’s unclear if this is because, as Peggy says, he’s a person of interest, or if because Peggy might be a little racist herself.

Peggy and Jarvis go to feel out Chadwick and his wife, actress Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) at a horse race, where Jarvis poses as an executive at Stark Pictures Productions and Peggy impersonates an American. I love when British people do American accents, so this was great. Chadwick gets defensive very quickly, joining the other characters doing a bad job hiding their evil intentions & Carter realizes immediately that he’s somehow involved.  When the dumb LAPD detective gradually starts to freeze also, he decides that the only person who can help him is Dr. Wilkes – perhaps he knows something? – and kidnaps him.  Peggy and Sousa are in immediate pursuit and while they are able to corner, him, he is shot by another police officer – one who claims that he didn’t hear the no fire order.  It looks like team is left with very little to go on now, although they’re going to dig further into Isodyne that’s for sure!

Okay I’m not going to belabor the obvious when I talk all about the inequality of women or the fact that Peggy Carter is wearing some pretty tight tops(!) – I think both of these points are covered very well in Agent Carter itself and doesn’t bear repeating ad nauseum! So with that being said let’s move on to the story itself and what is going on in TV’s newest Superhero prime time show – Marvel’s Agent Carter.

Agent Carter tell the story of Peggy Carter whom we first met in Captain America The First Avenger.  After Captain America’s death fighting against Hydra and the Red Skull in the First Avenger, Peggy Carter is left shattered and at loose ends.  While we’ve seen her appear in a couple of episodes of Agents of Shield where she is continuing the fight against Hydra, Marvel’s Agent Carter portray’s her as more of a mourning widow than a hero in her own right which is actually quite disappointing.

After the war and as a part of the Strategic Science Reserve (S.S.R), Peggy doesn’t receive the respect that she thinks and we know she deserves – but rather is denigrated as ditzy and someone that only got the position she’s in due to whom she was supposedly sleeping with (in this case, the assumption is obviously made that this is due to her relationship with Captain America).  As nothing more than a glorified office clerk, “Agent” Peggy Carter is woefully underused.

However, when Howard Stark (Tony Stark’s father) is accused of selling secrets to the enemy and in fact is in front of congressional committee very similar to one that his son had to face in Iron Man 2, he is forced to flee the country to try and clear his name.  Before he leaves though, he gets in touch with Peggy Carter based on his relationship with her from Captain America The First Avenger and he informs her that she is the only one that he can trust.  We are also introduced to Howard Stark’s man servant – Edwin Jarvis – whom we’ve all come to know and love as the entity inhabiting all of the Iron Man suits and all of Tony Stark’s computer systems [note: I’m not implying that this Jarvis becomes the Jarvis used by Tony Stark – I think he only named his trusted friend and adviser the same thing as the person that provided support to his Father … but if somehow this Jarvis does become that Jarvis … well, you saw it here first!] Before he leaves, he tells her about his formula for molecular nitramene that is going to be sold at a club in the city.

When Peggy starts to investigate she is able to use her “womanly ways” to enter the nightclub and gains access to the room where the nitramene is being stored.  Here she learns that this is not just a formula but is in fact a weapon!  Managing to steal it away from the club owner before the other agents from the S.S.R are able to fully investigate, she takes it to her home where she is able to disarm it with Jarvis’ help.

However unbeknownst to her, she has been followed from the club by a villain!  This nameless man kills Peggy’s roommate, but before he can do the same to her, she manages to disarm him (quite a good fight sequence here it must be said and while it didn’t really compare to the May on May fight from Agents of Shield, it was still pretty good!) and knock him out of the window of her flat but when she looks for him, all she sees are shards of glass as he managed to miraculously disappear.

Peggy with some assistance from Jarvis and Stark Industries scientist Anton Vanko determine that the weaponized nitramene came from a Roxxon Oil refinery near the city.  Peggy visits the refinery with Jarvis and here she meets Leet Brannis – the thief/individual who actually stole everything from Stark.  Peggy also finds that a whole shipment of these lethal weapons has been manufactured by the Brannis and his Roxxon associates and while she is able to stop Leet from manufacturing more, he escapes with all of the already completed bombs save one.  This one he uses to destroy the entire building as Carter and Jarvis escape.

Phew … lots happening in just one episode that’s for sure!  I think Marvel has learned some lessons from Shield – namely while we like our story we don’t want to wait a whole season for it to develop as they did in Season 1.  This episode definitely kick starts the show off on the right foot and while (I feel) there were a couple of wobbles, the show overall was definitely entertaining and enjoyable.  As this was a two-parter though … stay tuned for the second half!

Who is Leet Brannis? A question my fellow long time comic readers already recognize him as one of the criminal foes of The Whizzer. A small time crook and some time crime boss with a real longing for other peoples jewelry.

In this adaptation however Leet Brannis is definitively a cog in the Leviathan operation and it’s plans for industrial espionage and sabotage, but

  • who is or what is Leviathan (?)
  • did Brannis receive his laryngotomy as a part of there own incentives program,
  • could Leviathan have a tassit or more obvious connection too Hydra?

Only time will tell and here’s hoping for a few more golden age goonies to poke there heads in on Agent Carter. A Weasel Wills perhaps? Another small time crook with deep hooks into Stark Industries.

It’s all connected each episode so far has featured a small nod whether spoken or hidden in the gorgeous backgrounds. Roxxon oil a multi-national corporation seemingly behind all manner of depraved acts. Among other things being the sole sponsor of the Captain America radio show, with there “moth balled” facilities being used by Miles Van Ert deftly played by the great James Urabiniak to produce molecular nitramine for Leet Brannis at the behest of Leviathan. Roxxon has some staying power as Agents of S.h.i.e.l.d viewers will remember the Deathlok program was a subsidiary of Roxxon.

Dr. Ivan Venko remember him telling tales of woe of this newly created molecular nitramine to Peggy and Edwin Jarvis? He should be familiar since his son Anton Venko would some time later become the Crimson Dynamo (well a mix of Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash) of sorts as seen in Iron Man 2. If you recall from Iron man 2 it was Anton who sought revenge on Howard Stark or any Stark for treasonous incidents we’ve yet to see or hear from. What remains is how this plot is to unfold why does a brilliant scientist like Anton Venko double cross the government and Howard as it was foretold in Iron man 2. How does it connect to Peggy and this ever expanding case of industrial espionage?

Introducing Edwin Jarvis taking on the role that Paul Bettany originated in the Iron Man films in voice over only, James D’arcy take son the role as butler and long time confidant of Howard Stark while Paul Bettany moves onto a big screen role as The Vision in the forthcoming Avengers sequel. Is he a simple butler as he wants to be perceived or does he  he have more information then he’s letting on about Leviathan and their proclivity for industrial espionage? A very different take then that of the books as long time readers would know. Where in the future he still performs his duty as gentleman’s gentlemen for Tony having helped raised him after the death of his parents Howard and Maria. Occasionally popping his head in to reassemble the forlorn Avengers mansion.

For now we can wait and see how the story unfolds, Marvels Agent Carter returns with episode 4 with the foreboding title of “The Blitzkrieg button” on January 27th.

OK… this is the one that everybody is looking at.  You would expect that in the premiere episode for the two parter they would do an amazing job however can they keep the momentum going on and keep you interested and coming back for more? That’s the question everybody had in their head and I’m very glad to say that Peggy Carter manages to accomplish this task quite wonderfully!

While trying to makes sense of the symbol Leet Brannis showed her in “Bridge and Tunnel,” Peggy pulls her gun on a guy scaling the wall leading into her hotel room. It turns out that this was not an assassin as she first feared but rather a would be suitor to Peggy’s roommate Molly.  Molly unfortunately is discovered and as this is against the policies at the Griffith she is immediately ejected & we’re introduced to bubbly Dottie Underwood of Iowa.

This episode launches us straight back into it, pretty much right where we left off when they had discovered the license plate to Howard Stark’s his car in the wreckage of the Roxxon oil facility. When the SSR agents confront Jarvis about the situation he initially flobs them off but is forced to go “downtown” to be interrogated. As they threaten and cajole him with accusations of treason Jarvis feels increasingly under pressure and looks like he is going to crack under the strain.  Peggy seeing this finds a way of tipping Jarvis off and helping him get back to an even keel, but this not in any way ingratiate herself with Dooley.  Peggy is berated by Dooley and although he does this in his office with only Thompson present it is very obvious to all of the other agents what is happening and while she comes out of the office suitably chastened she is also visibly flustered and angry.

When she meets up with Jarvis later that evening she immediately confronts him about the treason accusation and he admits that he did make a mistake and explains it as a way of getting his wife out of the country he had to falsify some documents for the General that he worked for. When Stark found out about the fact that he had been cashiered he helped him get his wife out and at the same time also found him a job as his personal assistant / valet.

Now while the rationale for the accusation make sense I think American audiences could perhaps be concerned or question the speed at which the reveal happens (as this is typically something that could be dragged out for several episodes over the course of a season) however having some experience from the UK and television shows there that have a much smaller run of episodes – in this case Agent Carter only has 8 – I can understand why they had to go through it as quickly as they did. In fact I think we will see that over the course of the show the secrets are going to be coming hard and fast and as they simply do not have time to draw things out!  This is one area that Carter far surpasses Agents of Shield as while I love that show and its ensemble cast, it did drag things out at times with too many filler episodes – more so in Series One than so far in Series Two I have to agree but still something that I cannot discount.

When Peggy and Jarvis eventually manage to track down Stark’s stolen goods through some good old fashioned detective work … another climactic fight sequence ensues – matching my previous comments about a single fight per episode it seems.  In this case Peggy is very lucky to have Jarvis along as while she’s managing to hold her own its only when he distracts the thug that she is able to use one of Stark’s inventions to take him out.

The SSR team arrive after Jarvis’ call and Agent Krezminski (Kyle Bornheimer) is tasked to bring the thug back to headquarters. On that drive, the thug reveals to Krezminski that an “English broad” is responsible for his beating. While Krezminski is gradually putting things together (you can almost see the light bulb go off in his head) he is stopped by an unidentified hitman who kills both the thug and the Agent.

Peggy walks into the SSR HQ the following day to find it a much more sombre place and when she hears about what happened with Krezminski she echoes the mood of the rest of the agents.  Dooley of course blames it all on Stark so I guess he’s got a bit of a one track mind!

Review

Overall very very solid episode and one that I actually quite enjoyed I have to say. The interaction between Peggy and Jarvis continues to improve and get tighter and while Peggy’s reputation in the office is literally in the toilet at this time in can only improve!

The death of Krezminski I have to admit actually took me by surprise as it is not something I was at all expecting and while he is hardly a main character I thought that he would be in the show a little bit longer if for nothing else simply as a foil to show how bad men in the forties are.  However keeping in mind my earlier comments about this being a show that will have to move the story along simply because of its limited run, I can see why it had to happen.  I guess the question is who will miss Krezminski more – his wife or his girlfriend!

Dottie while she was kind of glossed over looks to be one of those characters that could amount to something … I might be watching too much TV but you can sometimes see the characters that are kind of just “slipped in” as ones that will grow.  Lets table this one for a bit, but I’d be interested to see what happens there.

I look forward to seeing where they take this show next as while it has dropped in its market share, it is simply getting better and better in terms of its reviews and reputation.Stay tuned for the next update coming shortly.

Well it had to happen sometime I guess … I mean the good thing about the SSR & Agent Carter is that while they are always a couple of steps behind Peggy, they are still playing the same game unlike other shows where the only person that seems to be able to do anything at all is the title character.  This is a refreshing change as I’m sure you would agree!

OK to do a quick recap of the episode, Peggy has determined that the only way Howard Stark could have been robbed is if he was taken advantage of by a woman as he is such a womanizer & after what she saw last week with the Russian training facility she further determines that this woman must be in some way associated with Leviathan is also probably the killer of Kresminsky and quite possibly still maintains some of her patterns from that time – namely sleeping with a shackle/handcuff – and as such should have the scars to match.  Obtaining a list of Howard’s paramours, she sets out with Jarvis in tow to visit each of them & while Jarvis is quite reluctant (it seems Howard’s rejection of these women is through Jarvis) he eventually agrees to speak to them also, which unfortunately means he gets more than one slap from a woman truly scorned!

Simultaneously, as Peggy’s search is progressing Sousa has also been putting the pieces of everything together, and has determined that there is enough information to pull Peggy in as being in some way involved with everything –

  • He identified the marks on her back as matching those from the blonde lady at the club
  • He spoke to the driver of the milk truck that they had captured in episode 1 & verified from him that Peggy was the person that had disarmed/disabled him at the farm
  • He spoke to the homeless man two episodes ago who’d indicated that a lady and a well dressed man (Jarvis) had left the dock

Once he’s able to persuade Dooley of all of these facts a massive “woman”hunt for Carter ensues and they initially try to apprehend her at the Diner where she’s speaking to Jarvis.  Managing to disarm and escape from all of the agents sent in after her, Peggy escapes out the back door but is confronted by Thompson … however before he’s able to apprehend her, she knocks him out also.  When Sousa finally arrives, she persuades him not to shoot and makes her escape back to the boarding facility where she searches in her room for the Captains’ blood.

Prior to the grand hunt however we had Dottie apparently targeting Dooley or the escaped Psychologist but surprise, surprise … this man isn’t what he seems as he manages to speak to Dottie through morse code and tells her that she needs to kill Peggy.  First of all I got a little bored with the Soviet Scientist Ivchenko’s scenes towards the end of the episode. While they ended up building to a rather shocking climax they still felt kind of superfluous once we knew that he was still a Leviathan agent trying to infiltrate the SSR to find a mysterious item that was obviously one of Stark’s bad babies.

As the search continues for Peggy in the boarding hostel, both Thompson and Sousa are obviously frustrated at the fact that Peggy was able to trick them so soundly – Thompson perhaps for the camaraderie that they’d developed while in Europe and Sousa for the friendship he’d shown her since day one, but they’ve also both realized that the reason she was able to trick them is because they underestimated her so badly (pretty much a sign of the times as Agent Carter has taken pains to show to us throughout the series).  But without a doubt the best woman-besting-men moment (and there were quite a few in this episode) was when Angie burst into tears to prevent Agent Thompson from finding Peggy. While it was quite funny by itself, the fact that she did it without a second thought to help her friend well … that gives you a nice warm feeling and something else? … well, Thompson and Sousa had just realized they’d been tricked, but they completely fell for it once again!

Unfortunately before Peggy is able to make her escape though, Dottie is able to casually approach her and gives Peggy a kiss with the “special” knockout lipstick that Peggy had used herself in the 1st Episode and Peggy collapses to the floor.  Dottie pulls out her knife and is about to kill Peggy, but is stopped by the arrival of Thompson and Sousa who march Peggy away in handcuffs.

Review

OK, well things are definitely heating up and you can see that this show is coming to a climax.  Peggy now knows who the Leviathan lady is and while it is somewhat late, it is something that will come in useful and although she’s been captured, she’s not in any way out of the game.  I didn’t love Dr. Ivchenko as a character, but I have to admit that I was surprised with his being a spy – I hadn’t considered that, so kudo’s to you for tricking me! I guess the question though is the kiss … I mean girl on girl in a primetime Disney production?  Well all I can say is that it wasn’t sexual at all and it completely suited the needs of the story … I would say that as a Black Widow – Dottie is trained to use her sexuality as a weapon and she does so without regard for gender. That’s pretty cool.

Continuing on from our previous recap and review of the 1st half Agent Carter: Now is Not the End (click the link to see that review and get the detailed synopsis in case you missed it) this review will focus on what happens next and how Agent Carter continues to grow and develop.

One good thing that I probably didn’t mention or focus on in my previous review … Marvel and Disney have not seen the need to provide a whole backstory and history of Peggy Carter or Howard Stark.  Most TV shows spend the initial half of the season introducing the characters and why they are doing what they are doing.  Thankfully this is not the case in Agent Carter as I think they’ve rightly realized only people familiar with the characters and universe would be watching in the first place … they’ve provided some flashbacks off course, but it isn’t painful in any way and doesn’t feel forced.  For this I must say a heartfelt Thank You!

Now a really quick recap of what happened in the first half of this double-pilot episode if you don’t have time to read my previous post.

The war is over and the men who fought are back in the USA.  These men have the typical attitudes towards women of that era and many women are now relegated back to a “women’s role” v.s. the work they were previously doing.  Peggy while an agent at the SSR (Strategic Science Reserve). is also typecast by the men as nothing more than a glorified secretary and they further imply that the only reason she is in the position that she is in is due to the man (Captain America) that she had a relationship with.  When Howard Stark is wrongly accused of selling secrets to the enemy and is forced to flee the country, he requests Peggy’s help in clearing his name and in stopping the use and sale of his inventions.  Peggy investigates and finds that a nefarious group called Leviathan is behind the theft but before she can apprehend the villain he manages to escape destroying the Roxxon oil refinery in the process.

Episode 2 Recap

If you recall from the previous episode, there seem to be two people working for Leviathan – Leet Brannis who we heard speak at the Roxxon refinery and who destroyed it, and someone else … the man in the green suit that Peggy fought and who killed her roommate.  Well this episode starts with the man in the green suit getting instructions from Leviathan to track down Leet Brannis and do whatever is necessary to retrieve the merchandise.  As we already know, he’s no stranger to death and he quickly leaves a trail of bodies in his wake as he searches for Brannis.

Meanwhile, Peggy goes to the dairy plant that the truck (from the previous episode that Leet used to transport the nitramene) is from disguised as a health official and while she’s unable to find the truck, she does learn that one of the drivers has been sick for a couple of days and that he uses his truck to commute.

SSR also is continuing their investigation and while they may be behind Peggy, they are fortunately not complete dullards!  Chief Dooley, and Agents Thompson and Krzeminski check out the remains of the Roxxon factory – one giant ball of fused metal, wood, and concrete. Dooley thinks Howard Stark is behind the destruction, and takes Thompson with him to Roxxon while leaving behind Krzeminski to pick apart the remains of the factory for clues.

Back at the office, Peggy learns of the investigation and also that SSR has access to photos of the mysterious blonde from the nightclub – Peggy fearing that her secret will be known quickly tells Jarvis to ditch the car used in their escape from Roxxon as its been bathed in Vita-Rays which can be tracked down.  Called to the Roxxon factory she helps Chief Dooley and Thompson scan the employees for Vita-Rays also to see if anyone was involved in the explosion at the factory.  Realizing by testing herself that Vita-Rays can be washed off and will only stay on metal objects or clothing for a small amount of time, she identifies the scientist Miles Van Ert whom she saw previously helping Leet Brannis.  While he’s not initially implicated in the incident, Peggy “innocently” states that they should scan the employees’ clothes in the locker room vs the employees themselves.  Realizing that he is caught Van Ert tries to escape but is quickly caught (requisite comedy scene here, where the other agents chase Van Ert but the “smarter” Peggy simply walks down the stairs and knocks Van Ert down before he can escape the building).  At the SSR HQ, Thompson “interrogates” (lets be honest … brutally beats is more accurate) Van Ert and manages to get the name – Leet Brannis – from him.

Carter and Jarvis set off in the evening to find the sick driver (Sheldon McFee), but both the man in the green suit and the SSR team are hot on their tail also.  Carter sneaks into McFee’s house and while he tries to subdue her, she easily bests him and proceeds to tie him to a chair.  While she’s tying him up, she hears a car starting outside, and pulls a man out of McFee’s milk truck. It’s the same person from the factory, Leet Brannis. Peggy puts a gun to his head, and wants information out of him. Once she offers him protection, he tells her that Leviathan is his former employer, and they tasked him with stealing the Nitramene from Stark’s vault … Brannis however decided to double-cross Leviathan and sell Stark’s inventions to the highest bidder instead (hence the orders to the man in the green suit).  Carter takes Brannis and the truck full of Nitramene back to SSR, but before they get too far, the man in the green suit jumps onto the truck … he proceeds to shoot and incapacitate Brannis, but is in in turn disabled when Peggy nails his hand to the roof of the car with his knife.  As the truck careens out of control, Brannis and Jarvis jump to safety and the truck explodes (does the green suited man escape???) in the Atlantic as the dozens of Nitramene devices on board go off at once.

Brannis however is critically wounded and manages to draw a funny heart shaped symbol in the dirt before he dies.  Carter and Jarvis make their escape moments before the SSR agents arrive and find Brannis’ body as well as some other clues.  Back at the SSR HQ, Peggy sees the group going through the photo’s from the nightclub, but fortunately none of them portray her face and she feels safer … Krzeminski however finds the license plate to Stark’s car in the ruins of the Roxxon refinery.

Episode 2 Review

As mentioned in my previous review, Marvel and Disney definitely do not try to sugar coat the role of women and women’s rights in the 1940’s in the USA.  They are perhaps a bit heavy handed in their treatment, but to a large extent I’m sure that is how it was … a very male dominated society where a woman had to prove themselves at all times.  I guess the only thing I would say or disagree with is that Peggy has proven herself in the war.  Regardless of what some of these “agents” might think of her, you’d think there would be enough positive information and  resources available to prove that she is more than just another skirt.  That might be my logical left brain talking but I’ve always treated people by their actions and not just by their skin color or sex and you would think that logical minded individuals at that time would too.  I know that’s a very naive point of view but by portraying all of the men of that era (especially the ones she works with) as narrow minded misogynistic chauvinists, it takes away from the freedom and respect that Peggy properly received during WWII and makes her less brilliant than she really is.

Some of the key points of this episode however are that Jarvis too is marginalized – this time by Peggy herself.  When Peggy insists that Jarvis merely drive her there and then return home to safety, he disobeys!  This is quite a good and subtle twist and perhaps something that Peggy will herself realize & hopefully correct in future episodes?

For her part, Hayley Atwell’s performance is wonderful and the limited combat she gets to perform on screen – it seems each episode (so far anyways) will have her do some hand-to-hand combat, proving how much of a badass she is! – she executes with aplomb even when standing in high heels. On the personal side, she is forced to reach out to the waitress (Angela) as she searches for a new place to live after the death of her former roommate.

One bit of humor is the Captain America radio show.  It’s quite a nice way of bringing some of the back story to life and perhaps in some ways it goes to the way in which Peggy is perceived and treated by the men in her life, as the recording portrays the character of Peggy as nothing more than a damsel in distress.  However as the radio show plays during the penultimate scene on top of the truck as Peggy is fighting the man in the green suit, you can visualize her in the persona of Captain America, because Captain America is less about being Steve Rogers, skinny kid from Brooklyn with a chip the side of Alaska on his shoulder, and more about stepping up to do what is right – regardless of who you are!